Editor’s Note: The Right Brain Initiative is dedicated to working with our partner artists and schools to create unique classroom arts experiences that meet the needs of the students. Right Brain teaching artist Beth Bundy shares the challenges—and ultimate satisfaction— of collaborating with other educators to design meaningful arts education.
When creating a custom-built arts residency, collaboration is key. Imagine sitting down at a table with a group of teachers, a school administrator, and an eager coach, all with the expectation that in one hour you will create a plan for an art residency for 75 – 500 students that will allow them to think critically, creatively, and collaborate while communicating. All of this must fit within the budget, and usually will take place in just a few weeks’ time. No wonder I lose sleep the night before planning meetings!
Planning meetings are challenging, but I enjoy the challenge of being a teaching artist with The Right Brain Initiative. Give me a problem and I will give my all to solve it innovatively and fully.
Fortunately, I am not left to solve the problem on my own. I have enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable teachers, a supportive Right Brain Coach, and an arts advocating administrator on my side. Plus, The Right Brain Initiative is continually confirming their support by offering planning templates, professional development, and encouragement.
I recently went to a planning meeting with a school art installation residency in mind. I had already met with the Right Brain team and the principal, but had not yet met the teachers I would be working with. I introduced my plan and they nodded their heads in agreement. As we began to focus on what we really wanted students to be thinking, the plan began to magically transform. They jumped in with ideas that related directly to the classroom curriculum, and I used the concepts they put forth as inspiration for the visual art that would occur.
Before the meeting was over, we had a plan that would challenge students to think in new ways, allow for creative choice, and push them to explore new materials and ideas with their peers. A good idea became an even better idea because the teachers were willing to dream big and engage collaboratively.
They say that two brains are better than one. With The Right Brain Initiative residencies, it takes a whole team of brains to construct residencies that are thought-provoking, fun, and creatively stimulating for students.